As Malawians are growing increasingly concerned with the electricity woes the country is currently facing, President Professor Peter Mutharika has appealed for patience, saying the problem will hopefully be minimized by next year as there are solutions in place to help the country both in the short term, medium term and long term.
Mutharika gave the assurance on Wednesday during a surprise visit to Energy Generation Company (EGENCO) and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to express his personal frustration with the current electricity situation in the country.
President Mutharika said that his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government has put the electricity woes as a priority.
“I am obviously concerned about the power problems we are having in this country because without power we cannot transform this country. Investors cannot come because there is no power, so power is very crucial and we have put it as a priority. I know that the blackouts are very painful, they are hurting people and businesses and so on and so forth, and I know what the country is going through,” Mutharika said.
Mutharika further stressed that the problem lies on the fact that as a country, we have never invested in the energy sector all these years hence this is the first time the country will be investing in the sector.
State House spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times that Mutharika’s visit to the two organizations was to express his “personal frustration” with the situation where people have to stay without power for longer hours.
Kalilani said the President Mutharika shares the frustrations that come with the frequent power outages on both local and foreign investors.
The State House Press Officer, however, said the first citizen appreciates some efforts deployed by EGENCO and ESCOM to address the problem, citing the installation of generators to boost electricity mega watts as one case in point.
“For example, the President noted efforts being taken by ESCOM to deal with the massive blackouts by constructing the Kamwamba Power Generation Plant as one long term measure,” said Kalilani, adding that the Malawi leader is not sleeping over the issue until it is solved.
ESCOM Board Chairperson, Perks Ligoya, attributed the power outages to low water levels in Lake Malawi and the Shire River have negatively impacted on the country’s generation capacity
He said due to the low water levels, EGENCO is only producing 180 mega watts instead of the demanded 300 mega watts.
“Now, out of those 180 mega watts, 70 mega watts are distributed to sensitive institutions such as hospitals, water boards… so that people can have water. Now that leaves very little, only about 100 mega watts to be distributed to everyone in Malawi,” said Ligoya.
He said due to this situation, they have to distribute the available mega watts equitably and not favouring one area from another. The ESCOM board chair added that people’s frustrations were understandable.
Escom chief executive officer Evelyn Mwapasa also said that the current generation capacity is less as demand is 300 megawatts while its sister company Egenco, is producing a total of 160 megawatts.
Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said the Head of State advised them to look into alternative source of energy to hydro-electricity.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :